Melbourne Children’s Global Health Forum October

Water-sanitation management and reduced environmental contamination

12:30-1:30 pm AEDT Thursday 20 October [Online]

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Revitalising informal settlements and their environments  project (RISE)
Professor Karin Leder will talk about the transdisciplinary RISE project, which is investigating the impact of improved water-sanitation management and reduced environmental contamination on health outcomes among residents living in informal communities in Fiji and Indonesia. The project works with communities, governments, local leaders and partner institutions to demonstrate that nature-based solutions – such as wetlands and bio-filtration gardens – can deliver sustainable, cost-effective health and environmental improvements for those living in informal settlements.

Watershed interventions for systems health (WISH Fiji) project – transforming place-based management within watersheds 
Dr Aaron P. Jenkins will talk about the watershed interventions for systems health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project. The project embraces participatory knowledge co-production and action-oriented research to identify risks, prioritize interventions and monitor responses. We used screening filters and local knowledge to identify five watersheds for action with high incidence of water-related diseases (Fiji’s “three plagues” of leptospirosis, typhoid, and dengue) and high risk to downstream environmental health. WISH Fiji is a systems model of cross-sectoral coordination, efficiently progressing many Sustainable Development Goals, but requires sustained investment in interventions across nested scales to realize full benefits, particularly for nature-based solutions that exhibit lagged responses.


Professor Karin Leder is an infectious diseases physician, co-Lead of the Planetary Health Division and Head of the Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, Director of Research for the Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments (RISE) program, and Head of Travel Medicine and Immigrant Health Services at the Victorian Infectious Disease Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital. She is involved in diverse areas of clinical and public health research, including examining risks of infections from exposure to contaminated environments and unsafe water, factors associated with the spread of infections across international borders, and travel / tropical medicine.

Dr Aaron P. Jenkins is a Fijian citizen of Eastern European and native north American (Cherokee) descent who has lived and worked for decades with communities of the Pacific Islands. He is Oceania’s inaugural Senior Research Fellow in Planetary Health with University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, Edith Cowan University’s Centre for People, Place and Planet, and the Fiji Centre for Communicable Disease Control. Dr Jenkins is a board member of the Fiji Institute of Pacific Health Research’s new Centre for Communicable Disease Research. He is recognized for pioneering integrative approaches linking environmental change to human health outcomes. The excellence and quality of his research is evidenced by globally high impact publication, including citation in 23 different subject areas and 71 countries, and receiving over AUD 17 million in research grant awards.

Chair: Associate Professor Suman Majumdar


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